Sunday, June 30, 2013

Books again

Here are some books that have provoked me to think about writing about nursing.
What books would you include?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sharing Stories - seeking recognition

This week I am sharing an idea I had whilst spending Sunday tweeting!! Anne Cooper shared a link from a US Website. It was a wonderful account by a nurse about her clinical experiences. It was well written and extremely moving. I started thinking about the stories shared on Twitter and Molly Case’s recent triumph with her poem at  RCN Congress and I wondered whether it was time UK nurses shared their stories.
Nicola White  a writer in Scotland has been a “writer in residence” at the School of Nursing at Edinburgh University. Her experience has shown what a diverse range of stories nurse have to tell and what rich learning there can be from paying attention to what folk are saying.
The link Anne Cooper shared was originally from a book of Nurse’s Stories and when I discovered this I had the idea that maybe UK nurses could do a similar thing. For some time now I have been composting the idea of writing a book (a small one) about my journeys in nursing. This task has often felt daunting and I have not got far with it but collaborating with lots of other wonderful folk feels much more my thing.

I went to Kate Evans’ book launch this week in Scarborough, at the rather wonderful Edith Sitwell library, and that got me even more fired up about this project. I met a long time hero of mine Linda Finlay   and she so understood my PhD failure that I really felt my plight had been heard. I am one of the case studies in Kate’s rather wonderful book and her analysis of my writing block has been both troubling and empowering. See here for a link to Kate's blog

So I have suggested the idea of a book out on Twitter and have had quite a lot of interest from folk offering their story. I found time to write an outline proposal and feel it might be a project that might see the light of day.

If you are reading this and what to share your nursing story then let me know. I don't think folk need to write a lot but we do not want it written well. You might need to practice writing your story and I am happy to help craft it into a meaningful narrative. Don't be scared and don't think you don't have anything worthwhile to say - you will have and others might want to know about it.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reflections and self observation


“Well, I fought with a stranger and I met myself
I opened my mouth and I heard myself
It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself
Guess I could have made it easier on myself”


from The long Way Around by Dixie Chicks


My thanks to Maxine Craig who I first met on Twitter and have now met in person (at the Compassion Dialogue) for making the connection between my blog yesterday and the Dixie Chicks’ lyrics. Perfect!!

 I have the album and know the song really well as I used to play the CD quite loudly in the car as “Not Ready to Make Nice” is also on the album and it was a very important song at the time the album came out. I am sure I can mine that observation in the future.



Walking the dog this morning I decided to think and be rather than take photographs. On the way to school a car overtook us just before the 30 mph sign at Marley Hill.


I was angry and outraged by this behaviour having noticed the driver was agitated and restless behind us when driving through our village. It is quite obvious looking at the road markings etc that this is not an overtaking place and she hurtled through Marley Hill at over the speed limit and she disappeared over the crest of the hill. As we got to the traffics lights at Sunniside there she was just in front of us, waiting. We then followed her all the way to Lobley Hill where she impatiently followed the car in front of her. I was really angry. Like Brene Brown ( her talk with Lissa Rankin available from here is wonderful) my default setting is “angry” and I had to simmer away for a while. My daughter is very good at calming me down but I do think that it is 30 for a reason.
I am not sure I got that angry about stupid driving before I was a Mum. Now I think of all the vulnerable pedestrians and passengers on their way to school that might be hurt by someone in a hurry. I also thought about his lady's state of mind. If she was on her way to work she is going to have a horrible day. She was clearly in a hurry, restless, agitated and must be distressed. I hope she isn't in charge of folk as that agitation will leak out and be uncomfortable to work alongside. I am practising compassion and hoping this helps me stop ruminating on the issues that arise.

I bought the book “How to stay sane" by Phillipa Perry yesterday and the ideas and reflections within it are very helpful. It is a simple and accessible book aims to do what it says – a kind book. I discovered the book via the wonderful Brain Pickings website which is a wonderful and rich resource find it here

All this learning and reflection is certainly helping my well-being and have become less defensive and happy to share this with others.




Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Back on Track

Been away for a while - crashed and burned for a little while after my Lit and Phil gig but I am back now...

I went to an unusual and inspiring meeting last night. Invited to attend a “Compassion Dialogue” with Andy Bradley from Frameworks for Change and I was very apprehensive about it. I had no idea what to expect and looking at the list of other participants I didn’t really know what I was letting myself in for.

Well I have avoided challenges and new situations for long enough so when the invite arrived I had no hesitation in accepting it. I have wittered on about care and compassion for long enough. I hope it infuses my teaching and I care very deeply that the world has become damaged and the world of health care has suffered as a consequence of fragmentation and rationalisation. Health care is a complex, complicated and messy business; there are no quick answers and no simple solutions. The time I worked in diabetes taught me that and watching health care from a distance over the last 17 years has cemented my belief that we need to pay far more attention to the well-being and support to those delivering care. I have had burn out, stress and depression; overwhelmed by what was expected of me and hurt by the bitching and sniping around me. I tried to make a difference but I was defeated by power and hierarchy, that experience has left a legacy of a lack of real self-belief and I know  it contributed to me not getting my PhD.
Last night was inspiring and energising but not in a frenetic and fizzy way. It has left me with a calmer purpose (hence me turning up at the blog today) and a solid determination to make things happen with poetry, expressive arts and health. I am not sure what that will be but I know I have an idea of what if looks and feels like when it is being delivered and how participants leave with a new insight.

When walking the dog this morning I wandered off onto a path that led me “the long way round”. I was a little frustrated as it meant I was out for much longer than I planned but then came across a field of rape seed scattered with poppies.


I realised then that “the long way round" might lead you somewhere unexpected but beautiful and that might just be where I am right now at 52. Twenty years ago I was in an awful rush – seeking promotion and academic attainment. Along the way I learnt about social theory and met inspiring teachers (transforming perspective).  My hurrying to get somewhere was derailed in 1999 with depression and a new track appeared in 2001 with motherhood but now I think I might have found  the right path and one that might be better for me and my family.